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by spocko

Working at a Big 8 Peace Firm, a Look Back

8:31 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

War activists, like peace activists, push for an agenda.  We don’t think of them as activists because they rotate in and out of government positions, receive huge amounts of funding, have access to big media, and get meetings with top officials just by asking — without having to generate a protest first.

War Activists by Dave Swanson

I remember after graduating from Star Fleet I took a job with one of the Big 8 Peace firms in San Francisco.

I was a junior analyst working on developing pro-peace material. Part of my job was booking our leading peace advocates on the Sunday morning talk shows. If it seemed like every Sunday you saw the same peace advocates ganging up in a four to one “discussion” with one war monger there was a reason. Unlike them, our people were well trained, articulate and buddies with all the producers and hosts. The media loved our men and women as guests. We booked everyone, from the red white and blue wearing men to the serious, hard-hitting realist female experts.

You know all those op-ed pro-peace articles you read in the editorial sections of the major media editorial sections? That was us. The firm I worked for was funded by a company that made farming equipment from recycled weapons. 

Other firms got their multimillion dollar budgets from agribusiness, pharma and tech. Sometimes it seemed crazy how much money they threw at us, but their premise was, “You can sell more equipment, food, drugs and tech to live people than dead ones.” Made sense to me.  People with two hands can do more work than those whose arms were blown off. One scientist working for Big Pharma said, ”It is more logical to heal than kill.

When I started a group of  war activists out there were whining about how nobody was funding their blood-lust. Their leaders said the glory of war was a noble thing and they expected people who believed the same to do the work for free. Because of that, only the most dedicated (or those subsidized by a crazy billionaire) would end up in the media pushing war.

Their ideas were outrageously wrong and and their views were so morally repugnant they were usually marginalized by the journalists and media hosts. Who can forget the show where the country’s most powerful journalist made it clear how factually wrong one of the war activist’s was and then ended by pointing out just what an immoral blood-thirsty freak he was.  

I remember one time a smiling ghoul named Bill Redglass was shut down by one of our staff members from the Peace College A few years after Redglass was on TV I ran into a former Senator who called out Redglass as monstrous, bloodthirsty fraud.  

What I don’t understand is why folks like Redglass kept going. Surely they knew that pushing war was a lost cause? Everyone knew war was stupid and destructive and rarely got countries what they wanted. But they kept pushing it. I kind of felt sorry for them.  Many couldn’t hold a job. When people found out how much they loved death they were quietly let go from sensible firms   Some lived in their parent’s basement because they were the only ones who believed their crazy ideas–like wishing for a disaster to happen on US soil as an excuse to start a war. Some would write on “weblogs” trying to sound tough.

I sometimes wonder about a parallel universe where people listened to them. Hundreds of thousands of innocents would be dead. If their pimply, adolescent Zeus fantasy’s came true, the whole world would be a worse place–even for the “winners.”

If the war activists had been successful, how would they feel about what they did? How could people look at them, knowing they cheerlead and promoted death for so many? Historically were the people who promoted war for Pol Pot, Stalin or Colonel Green feted?  Would people invite them on their TV shows and treat them like rational beings and not the PR men for monsters?  Thank god nobody took them seriously. Can you imagine? what kind of world that would be?

I don’t think we would be out in the galaxy among the stars today if we hadn’t figured out how to stop the mental illness and errors in thinking that lead to the wars of the past. I’m just glad that the people who promote war  aren’t rich and happy but are shunned by people. I’m so happy companies that make money by selling things to people understand dead customers are bad for business. And companies that make weapons are bad for humans. 


Photo by Trey Ratcliff under creative commons license

by spocko

I Dreamt of a City’s Beauty and Alien Human Peace

2:22 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Ferry Building -- Port of San Francisco

I had a dream last night where I approached SF from Sausalito at night on the water. I was in a pick up truck with Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing and as we came over hill I was suddenly in a sea kayak at water level. The sun started hitting the city from the east with a dark sky behind it. The reflected lights off the buildings looked like fireworks. I remember in the dream trying to take a picture with my cell phone and knowing it wouldn’t do justice to the image. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in my life.

When I woke up I had this thought and tweeted it:

I’m a photographer, I’ve done sea kayaking before. I just spent a while looking for a photo that captured that image, but couldn’t find one. The one above is the closest.

Now I could try and recreate it, but I really wish I had a machine where I could capture the image directly from my mind and post it online for you. I also wish I had a way to share the wonderful feeling that went with it. I knew I was seeing something extraordinary and I wanted to share that beauty with others.

Earlier that night I had another dream.

Both of these dreams can be attributed to the new SyFy TV show Defiance and the recent Boston bombing. The show was just okay and was filled with standard SF action tropes. But it had one thing that I really liked.

The town of Defiance (formerly Saint Louis) celebrated humans and aliens people who, after a long war, finally said, ‘Enough’ and put down their weapons. The show portrays humans and aliens living together in a community where we don’t judge people by the shape of their heads or planet of origin, but by the content of their character.

When we find out who was behind this bombing, let’s keep in mind that an entire race of people, nation, region, city or state were not behind this. If the person is a brown person, (let’s say from Iran) we should have the sense to not go after all brown people and bomb Iran. Just like if the bomber is a white male from Mississippi, we should have the sense to not go after all white males and bomb Mississippi.

America doesn’t have to be the country that attacks an entire state because of the actions of a small number of people from there. Or worse, the state next to it. That would be kind of crazy. We are better than that. If we haven’t been that in the past, we can be again in the future. Read the rest of this entry →